Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Margherita Fava: Tatatu


Margherita Fava: Tatatu

Margherita Fava: Tatatu
Italian pianist Margherita Fava comes across as a mature composer and a sensitive performer on her captivating debut Tatatu. Based in Knoxville Tennessee, USA, Fava is a consummate musician and educator whose unique set of talents is on full display here as she leads a quartet on two covers and six of her poetic originals.

For instance, her "Tidal Waves" has a mystical atmosphere. Over the rhythm trio's percolating refrains saxophonist Greg Tardy lets loose a lyrical melody with reserved passion. Fava builds a contemplative improvisation with sparse and chiming chords. Tardy, then takes his turn in the spotlight with pensive spontaneity while drummer Michael J. Reed's thunderous solo imbues the ethereal piece with a visceral earthiness.

Elsewhere, on the intriguing "Restless Mind," Fava sets a tense mood with her angular phrases and crystalline tonal cascades. Tardy deftly weaves a fiery, incandescent soliloquy within this complex and dynamic sonic tapestry. Fava's extemporization is equal parts European romanticism and simmering blues while demonstrating her mastery of the keys.

Perhaps the centerpiece of this uniformly superb album is the cinematic "Restless Mind"; the band quickly builds an expectant ambience with Tardy stating the melancholic theme. Then, bassist Javier Enrique lays down a funky beat with soulful swagger and reverberating vamps. The tune seamlessly evolves into a riotous repartee, marked by Tardy's wailing tenor. The four-way conversation increases in excitement, setting the stage for Fava and her cool pianism on a virtuosic and far reaching solo. Then, seamlessly, the band returns to the wistful head with elegance and panache.

Fava interprets both standards with a rare balance of deference to the source material as well as a deeply personal touch. Whether she is tastefully exhibiting her instrumental prowess on pianist Thelonious Monk's "Rhythm-a-ning" or embellishing songwriter Jerome Kern's "All the Things You Are," she is able to put her stylistic mark on them without losing sight of the pieces' essence.

The brilliant Tatatu is surprisingly accomplished for a first outing. It begs the question: If this is Fava's freshman effort, how promising must her future be?

Track Listing

Face Off; Tidal Waves; Rhythm-A-Ning; Bird of Passage; Resilience; All The Things You Are; Restless Mind; Hard To Say.


Album information

Title: Tatatu | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Caligola Records

< Previous
Clouded Lines



Support All About Jazz

Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

How You Can Help

To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.


Painter Of Dreams
Misha Tsiganov
Eclectic Vibes
Ken Silverman
The Recursive Tree
John Blum / David Murray / Chad Taylor
Natsuki Tamura, Satoko Fujii


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.